Nintendo facing Wii patent suit
Nintendo is facing patent litigation over the technology used in the Wii.
The suit, brought by ThinkOptic against Nintendo and several other companies, claims that Nintendo has knowingly violated three patents used in the Wavit TV remote.
The first, US patent number 7,796,116, covers "electronic equipment for [a] handheld vision-based absolute pointing system." ThinkOptic claims that Nintendo knew its Wii remote tech was in violation of existing patents because the US Patent and Trademark Office rejected certain claims in its own patent applications.
In its court filing, ThinkOptic claims: "The rejection of…applications – assigned to Nintendo Co Ltd – based on the '116 patent is proof that the Nintendo defendants knew or should have known of the objective risk that one or more of the products infringed at least one claim of at least the '116 patent."
The company cites two other patents: US patent number 7,852,317, which covers a "handheld device for handheld vision-based absolute pointing system"; and number 7,864,159, titled "handheld vision-based absolute pointing system." The three patents combine to form the basis for ThinkOptic's Wavit remote.
It alleges that just about every aspect of Wii technology – including the remote, sensor bar, the system itself and even Wii games – are in violation of the patents in some way. ThinkOptic even claims that the upcoming Wii U is infringing on its patents.
Crucially, the suit has been filed in East Texas, a district notoriously sympathetic to patent infringement complaints. Other companies named in the suit are storage media manufacturer Imation, peripheral company Nyko Technologies, and US retailers Radioshack, GameStop and JC Penney.
Nintendo has successfully fought off patent infringement claims in the past: in 2009 a judge ruled in its favour after Guardian Media Technologies had claimed the Wii infringed on its 1998 patent for a "selective video playing system."